In our modern world, the power of anonymous individuals to trash people and their character or integrity is amazing. You can assume a lot of things about people almost instantly, be it from the snapshot you see or from the rumor mills and mean kids’ populism.
Social media and the emotional distance it creates while purporting to shrink the globe to a phone screen has given rise to a dehumanizing, extended high school experience that does more harm than good.
For years, I have used social media to advocate for causes I believe in. Troll after miserable troll has passed through to make a judgment and an assessment of my humanity.
Even now, people who have never interacted with me in any meaningful way have opinions based on people who left Real Progressives disgruntled or on a mission to burn it down as they leave.
Within the populist nightmare of groupthink and the desire to “burn the witch”, many decide to pick up their pitchforks and torches to chase down the activists that “trigger them”.
The next wave is the “tone police” who, unaffected by the trolling directed at the activist, try to explain how I should behave as people call me misogynist, racist, homophobic, crazy, sociopath, doxx me, attack my life and even my children.
Somehow people think that rather than debate the issues, that somehow my voice, facial expressions, number of children, career or unemployment, critique of their favorite candidate or favorite myths and legends equate to me being Son of Sam, Simon Legree or even Sean Hannity.
Some elites feel that I am too rough around the edges. Some will not acknowledge me at all. Instead, they cast me aside and treat me like a kid screaming into a pillow.
Some who are jealous spend hours and days making videos about me, taking my content and twisting it to suit the fallacious picture they are attempting to paint and endeavor to ostracize me or the issues I advocate.
The stench of twisted populism, an extension of the “mean girls” in high school or the jackass bullies in the locker room, permeates all we do. Like a flock of birds darting this way and that, they swarm, pull back, swarm, pull back, while the nasties and herd animals follow the pack. It is shameful and embarrassing but it is what surrounds much of the social media and movement experiences. Herd animals…following the herd…straight off a cliff.
24x7x365, I advocate for my causes and I strive to build an organization that can break free of the “drowning man” syndrome that many cynical, bitter people employ when they see folks stepping out, stepping up and trying to rise above the pig slop. They want nothing to do with providing REAL solutions. No, they’d rather wallow in populist angst and misery.
Our nation is broken. Our social construct is broken. It has been turned into the Roman Colosseum and the screaming populists want blood.
Social media is failing us because it allows lies, gossi, pand mean-spirited keyboard terrorism to go unabated.
“I don’t like him”
“He’s a dick.”
“He said federal taxes don’t fund federal spending…of course they do. He is a sociopath”
“He yelled at a camera and called folks cutting spending Neoliberals and murderers by proxy”
Taking it all in…taking all the incidentals as personal attacks. Not paying attention, but running around whispering rumors and conducting chit-chat smear-a-thons that, sadly, some are influenced by prior to investigation.
Social media has failed us. It is controlled opposition, so to speak, tearing down the solutions and keeping populism safely in the hands of the faux resistance.
Happy New Year.